Celebrating a 50-year stint in one job

With everyone talking about redundancies and recession, you would be forgiven for thinking a 'job for life' was as much a myth as the Minotaur or Medusa.

With everyone talking about redundancies and recession, you would be forgiven for thinking a 'job for life' was as much a myth as the Minotaur or Medusa.

But for one man in north Norfolk, a job he expected to last just five or six years, gave him the security workers these days could not even dream of.

John Mansford retired on Friday after 50 years working for the same engineering company in North Walsham.

The pensioner - who is 65 today - began working for The Wall Engineering Company on April 2 1959 as a 'cropper', manually cutting and machining the plates needed to make agricultural buildings.


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Over five decades, Mr Mansford, a father of two, said the company had changed 'dramatically'.

He has watched it switch from making steelwork for agricultural buildings to retail stores and offices - via aircraft hangars - and, in the 1980s, saw it enter the computer-age.

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As a production controller, he has spent the past 23 years programming the factory machinery by computer and can set the equipment to cut thousands of holes in hundreds of plates - all from the safety of his office.

Mr Mansford, who began working for The Wall when he was 15, has seen recessions - along with his colleagues - come and go over the years.

Recalling a difficult period 40 years ago, he said: 'There were 12 people on the shop floor and we had nothing to do so we swept up. They had to lay two or three men off because there wasn't enough work. I've lost count of how many have come and gone.'

Arriving for work on his last day, the pensioner's colleagues made sure he would not forget them in a hurry.

He said: 'I've been put in the bin. I walked in and they just grabbed me. They're a good crowd. I would do anything for them, and they would do anything for me.'

Mr Mansford, who has been married to wife Evelyn for 38 years, was able to enjoy his final day, taking time to say goodbye to his workmates - but he said retirement was unlucky to be so easy-going.

He said his wife had already made a list of jobs for him to do - but had also scheduled in monthly trips out for the couple so they could spend more time together.

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